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Betsy Ross among four honorees by Ohio Valley Emmy group

Betsy Ross will be presented a Silver Circle award for at least 25 years in television on July 30.
Courtesy Ohio Valley chapter of NATAS
Betsy Ross will be presented a Silver Circle award for at least 25 years in television on July 30.

The part-time WXIX-TV sports anchor, and former ESPN anchor, began her Cincinnati TV career at WCPO-TV in 1981.

Betsy Ross, a former ESPN SportsCenter anchor and Cincinnati TV news anchor, will receive the prestigious Silver Circle award from the Ohio Valley chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which presents the Emmy Awards.

The Connersville, Ind., native is one of four TV veterans to be honored at the Ohio Valley awards gala in Columbus on July 30.

Former Columbus news anchor and Daytime Columbus host Gail Hogan and former Kentucky Life host-producer Dave Shuffett of Greensburg, Ky., also will receive Silver Circle awards for working 25 years in television. Longtime Evansville news anchor Brad Byrd,who was inducted into the Silver Circle in 2005, will be presented a Gold Circle award for 50 years of service.

Ross credited Phyllis George, the co-host of CBS Sports' The NFL Today who died in 2020, with inspiring her to switch from news to a sports journalism career. George gave Ross permission to use their email correspondence as the foreword for her 2010 book, Playing Ball with the Boys: The Rise of Women in Men’s Sports. George's emails are "something that I'll always treasure. It was so special to talk to someone who had such an important role in my career. Because of her, I said, 'Yes, I can do this,' " Ross said in 2020.

After earning a journalism degree at Ball State University, Ross earned a master's degree in communications at Notre Dame while working as a copy editor for the South Bend Tribune. She says watching George on CBS inspired her to ask Tribune sports editors if she could cover high school and college basketball and football.

However, Ross began her career as a TV news reporter in South Bend (1977-81), at WCPO-TV (1981-86) and at Indianapolis' WTHR-TV (1986-89) before going to SportsChannel America (1989-90), where she was a sports anchor on the Cablevision channel.

After returning to Cincinnati as an anchor-reporter for WLWT-TV (1990-97), she left for ESPN to anchor weekends on SportsCenter, and the new ESPNews (1997-2002). She came back here in 2002 to be closer to her mother, and to launch Game Day Communications with business partner Jackie Reau. She's also the public address announcer for University of Cincinnati women's sports.

Ross says George "gave me the idea of, 'Hey, this really could happen.' It's so important now for kids to see someone doing what they want to do some day. We have such a debut of gratitude to her. She made it a common thing to see a woman covering sports."

Here's the Ohio Valley chapterannouncement about Ross:

"She learned early to say "yes” to opportunity. With degrees from Ball State and Notre Dame, Betsy Ross flourished in the 1980s as news anchor at WCPO in Cincinnati, further honing her talent at WTHV in Indianapolis. In the ‘90s, she advanced to anchor SportsChannel America, a new 24-hour sports network before returning to Cincinnati to anchor at WLWT. In 1997, she was named as one of six female anchors working on SportsCenter and ESPNews.

"Success, clearly, is an understatement. In 2002, Betsy launched her own Cincinnati-based company, Game Day Communications, a media and marketing agency specializing in sports and entertainment. This put her in perfect position to pen her 2010 book, Playing Ball with the Boys: The Rise of Women in the World of Men’s Sports,”which is often referenced in college sports journalism classes.

"Ross continues her work as sports anchor at FOX 19 and as a college basketball analyst for ESPN and FOX Sports. Fans also recognize her as the voice of women’s athletics at the University of Cincinnati. A staple of Ohio sports and beyond, it’s “game on” for a woman who seems to never take a day off."

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.